Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed flagged off the extended service of the Yashwantpur-Mangalore Central Express (6517/6518) from Mangalore to Kannur at the Railway Station here on Monday.

The extension of the train to this station would be an additional link to Bangalore via Mangalore and Mysore, Mr. Ahmed said at the function held at the platform here in the afternoon, emphasising the importance of more trains to link Kerala and Karnataka. He said that though the Malabar region had played an important role for the development of the broad gauage track under the Southern Railway, the Mangalore-Shornur sector of the Railway had not seen adequate growth as a result of incompletion of track doubling, lack of electrification and shortage of trains running through the sector, he said adding that though the commissioning of the Konkan Railway had increased the number of trains passing through the sector to the north, the area still faced the problem of shortage of trains towards the southern parts.

Though eight new trains had been introduced in the State after the present Government came to power at the Centre, more trains had to be started, the Minister said. More trains could be introduced once the doubling work was completed in the sector, he added. The Kochuveli-Mangalore Express now being rechristened as Eranad Express would be extended to Nagercoil and would run daily, he said. The Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Express with its present four-day/week service would soon be a six-day/week service, he added.

Announcing that steps were under way for developing the Kannur Railway Station as a multi-facility station along with a few other stations in the State, he said that the station would have a total facelift in a year. He also urged the Railway officials to complete the works within the stipulated time-frame.

The Minister also assured that there was no move to shift the office of the Railway Deputy Chief Engineer's Office from here.

K. Sudhakaran, MP, presided over the function. District Panchayat president K.K. Narayanan, municipal chairman B.P. Farooque, Southern Railway Divisional Manager Deepak Krishan and Divisional Railway Manager Y.P. Singh were also present at the function.

The extended train (No. 6517) leaves Yashwantpur at 8-35 p.m. and arrives here at 11-45 a.m. and the train (No. 6518) departs from here at 4-40 p.m. and arrives Yashwantpur at 7-40 p.m.

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